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Researchers Find Anti-Virus Powers in Beer Components

Update Date: Dec 07, 2012 03:53 AM EST

A new study suggests that consumption of large quantities of a key ingredient found in beer can combat winter sniffles and even some serious illnesses in small children.

The report comes from Japanese brewers who cite a scientific study for the claims, Medical Xpress reports.

Apparently, a chemical compound in hops, the plant used by brewers to give beer its bitter taste, is effective in fighting virus that can cause severe forms of pneumonia and bronchitis in youngsters, Sapporo Breweries said.

The findings were the result of a research funded by a company along with scientists at Sapporo Medical University. In the study, the compound humulone was found to be effective in curbing the respiratory syncytial (RS) virus.

"The RS virus can cause serious pneumonia and breathing difficulties for infants and toddlers, but no vaccination is available at the moment to contain it," said Jun Fuchimoto, a researcher from the company.

The tendency of the virus is to spread during winter and it could also cause cold-like symptoms in adults. According to Fuchimoto, the content of humulone in beer is so less that for someone to benefit out of virus-fighting compound, one may have to gulp down about 30 cans, each of 350 millilitres (12 oz).

"We are now studying the feasibility of applying humulone to food or non-alcoholic products," he said. "The challenge really is that the bitter taste is going to be difficult for children."

The research also found that humulone alleviated inflammation caused by infection from the virus, the brewery said.

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